We Look Back At The Top TV Shows of 2002

Categories: Top TV Show Ratings By Season,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

April 26th, 2008

American Idol on FOX2002, The first season of American Idol in the US. Other Notable TV premieres of the year: The Bachelor (ABC), Monk (USA), CSI:MIami (CBS), Without A Trace (CBS), Around The Horn (ESPN). Notable TV finales of the year: The X-Files, Ally McBeal, and Spin City. Fox News Channel overtook CNN as the #1 cable news network in the US. General Hospital airs its 10,000th episode.

Considering how far back in TV history we've looked so far, what surprised me most about 2002's top 20 list wasn't how much things had stayed the same, but how much they'd changed in just 6 years.
Top 20 Prime Time Broadcast Programs, September 2001-May 2002:

RANK

PROGRAM

NETWORK

 

HH RATING

HH SHARE

1

Friends

NBC

 

15.3

25

2

CSI

CBS

 

14.6

22

3

E.R.

NBC

 

14.4

24

4

Everybody Loves Raymond

CBS

 

12.8

19

5

Law And Order

NBC

 

12.6

21

6

Friends 8:30PM

NBC

 

12.2

19

7

Survivor: Africa

CBS

 

11.8

18

7

Survivor: Marquesas

CBS

 

11.8

19

9

NFL Monday Night Football

ABC

 

11.5

19

10

West Wing

NBC

 

11.4

18

11

Will & Grace

NBC

 

11.1

17

12

Leap of Faith

NBC

 

11.0

17

13

Becker

CBS

 

10.7

16

14

Law And Order: SVU

NBC

 

10.4

19

15

60 Minutes

CBS

 

10.2

17

16

Frasier

NBC

 

9.9

15

16

JAG

CBS

 

9.9

16

18

Inside Schwartz

NBC

 

9.8

15

18

Judging Amy

CBS

 

9.8

16

20

NFL Monday Showcase

ABC

 

9.6

15

For a bit of perspective, the top rated show this season, Tuesday's American Idol, Season To Date HH rating is 16.1 and its share is 24.

If you'd have told me in 2002 that just 6 years later, only 6 of the top 20 shows for the year (CSI, ER, Law And Order, Survivor, Law And Order:SVU and 60 Minutes) would still be on the air, I think I might have wagered substantially against you. [Although 2 more are a simple day/network shift of broadcast primetime NFL football].

Six years ago the half hour sitcom could still bring in the viewers. Eight of the top 20 shows were sitcoms. (Friends x2, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will & Grace, Leap of Faith, Becker, Frasier, Inside Schwartz) Little changed from the eight sitcoms in 1972. This season, two sitcoms, Two and a Half Men (18) and Samantha Who? (19), barely make the top 20.

There were 5 crime dramas (CSI, Law & Order, Law & Order:SVU, JAG, Judging Amy) same as in 1972. (Although opinions may vary about how "crime" oriented Judging Amy was.)

The network v. network competition was surprisingly uneven with ABC having only 2 shows in the top 20. NBC had 10 and CBS had 8. Compare that to this season when NBC has just one show (Sunday Night Football) in the HH ratings top 20.

Don't forget that a HH ratings point today means a lot more households than it did in the past.

Nielsen TV Ratings Data: ©2005 Nielsen Media Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

 
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